When Your Accounting Department Makes Customer Services Decisions, You Lose

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I rented a car from Thrifty this week in Las Vegas. I like Thrifty, and the woman who waited on my was great. Until…

As I told her I didn’t want to pre-pay for gas, she informed me that I was required to bring a receipt from a gas station within 10 miles of the airport or I would be charged $12.
“So, if the gauge reads full, I have to prove to you that I really filled it? Nice way to treat your customers.”
She proceeded to try to tell me why it made sense. She explained that sometimes people drive the car for 30 miles or so and the gauge doesn’t move off full, but they still have to top of the tank, so it costs them money. She was sure I understood.
I so understand. I understand that a policy put in place almost certainly by the finance department is requiring this nice, friendly person to piss me off and have a bad feeling about Thrifty.
And, to be clear, I understand the concept and the business problem. It’s only a few miles from the Vegas airport to the Strip, and I’m sure some people weasel a gallon of gas or so by not filling up. So, rather than building that into their pricing (an extra 50 cents, maybe, given that this situation doesn’t apply to every single car) Thrifty informs every customer they’ll be asked to prove their honesty. Let’s be clear, I can get cars from any one of about a dozen companies at McCarrren Airport, and I plan to next time. That ridiculous $12 charge comes to about 17 percent of my total bill to cover a half gallon of gas in some rentals.
As a result, instead of telling people about a generally good experience with Thrifty in Las Vegas, I’m writing a blog post about a stupid and irritating policy. For the record, I filled up the car. No $12 for you, my friends at Thrifty!
I’ll be back in Vegas soon, and I think I’ll rent from anyone but Thrifty just to send a message. The next company might have the same policy, but I want to let Thrifty know that such behavior is demeaning to at least this customer. You made money from me during the last two days, and a penalty some bean counter or attorney came up with cost you the profit of a multi-day rental next month, and probably one in another city as well.
As a business owner or even an employee, ask yourself: do any of our policies drive our customers into the arms of another company?
Photo by Oleksiy Mark/Shutterstock.com

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